Motherhood is an amazing thing. We will sacrifice our own life to save our children or keep them from harm, or do we all? Today I am looking at how we as mothers as parents care for our children.
I watched a documentary on Ebola last night. I was both heart broken and horrified as I watched hundreds of children literally die. One family in particular left a forever impression on my mind. It was a mother and her six children. They are particularly a burden on my heart. This mother was told no matter what, not to touch her children. This mother watched her child, who was infected by Ebola, suffer, vomit and covered in diarrhea cry in horrible pain and dragged away by quarantine workers. She was helpless. She had done everything in her power to protect her children from this deadly disease including sacrificing and letting one go from her care to protect the others.
It took me back to a day in an emergency room as I watched my only child laying on an emergency room table, tears of blood coming from his eyes and blood from every orifice of his body and being told I could not touch him as he was infected with a vaccine preventable form of meningitis.
By this point, uncontrollable tears poring down my cheeks as I watched this same mother and the rest of her children become infected and sick. They, like her small son were taken to a quarantine facility. She found when they reached the makeshift clinic there were no more beds, no medicine, no food and no hope for her children. They would once again be laying in mud and dirty water with little food, no care and waiting for a horrible death to claim them. She found out after arriving her little boy had died. She did not get to hold him in his last minutes. He died alone and afraid. Someone had taken a photo of him almost nude sitting on a bucket. He had become know as “The Little Boy on the Bucket.”
Through tears and a sad heart for this mom I thought about a reality show I had recently watched. The parents were against any kind of vaccinations for their infant/toddler.
Ok, I am not so hard that I can’t understand a parent’s fear of drugs including vaccine. Believe me as a mom, an activist, and a Christian who is supposed to care for the least of His, if I truly believed that vaccines were bad for infants and children, I would be on the front lines fighting to fix it. But I don’t believe it. Too much information, research and facts say different.
On this same reality show a family member, a nurse visited the mom and told her horror stories of children whom she had watched suffer and even die from vaccine preventable diseases. The mom seem to listen while still trying to make her point against vaccines. Ok, Again I get this! That fear of what is the right choice for your child in every circumstance. However what I did not get or understand is the fact that she and her husband decided to take their infant/toddler to a “Chicken Pox Party”. They made an almost what seem to be rebellious, conscience decision to expose their baby to a disease that can lead to serious and even deadly complications. Here a parent not only chose first not to protect them with vaccination but intentionally expose them to a potentially deadly disease, a risk to the whole community. A disease at the very least that will cause fever, blisters, severe itching and dehydration not to mention the scars it leaves. I am still covered with them 50 years later.
This made me recall a story a good friend and respected physician shared about a mother whom she begged to vaccinate. This mom instead chose a “Chicken Pox Party.” The little child died a few weeks later from complications of Chicken Pox.
We all have to make decisions for our children.
Had I known about and could have made the choice to use the vaccine that could have prevented Ryan’s death, he would have had it. He would be with me. Instead, I fight everyday to prevent other children and their parents from going through this nightmare. Ryan is remembered as one lost to a preventable disease and possibly his legacy left behind is that lives were saved because of it.
Had this mom in Africa had access to a vaccine that could have prevented her family and even her own life from being taken, I have no doubt that she would have chose the vaccine. Instead she had to make a choice to let one child go in order to try and save her other children. Now her little family is just gone with the exception of a heartbreaking photo of “The Little Boy on the Bucket” a lasting symbol of what can happen when deadly disease strikes and there is not a vaccine
Finally a mother who made a choice not to vaccinate but instead expose her child to a possibly deadly disease.
One simply has to walk around an old cemetery to realize the value of vaccine. For me it is a constant pain in my heart, a stroll down a hallway filled with pictures and memories of my sweet boy and a grave stone with his name.
For the thousands of parents in the Ebola outbreak it is trying to survive, not being able to comfort their children, while stepping over other dead children in the streets.
For the parent who chooses not to vaccinate but expose their children to deadly disease, I have only these words. I believe if infants and children had a choice of a vaccine over deadly and debilitating disease they would choose vaccine. They don’t have a voice or a choice. We have to be that voice, the voice truth, real science, prevention and life
How many must be debilitated or die and how many tears must we cry before they listen.